Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The last bastion standing

For nearly 80 years, the city of Paris was protected by thick walls and bastions known as the enceinte de Thiers or the fortifs. Today only one significant element of these fortifications remains standing, although this seems to be more by accident than design. Where is the Bastion n°1 and what purpose does it serve today? 

Friday, 7 November 2014

Challenge 8: what lies beneath?

Near the Parc Floral gardens in the Bois de Vincennes are two staircases that lead down to…a brick wall. What was their original purpose and what lies between the two? In this post you will find not only the answer to these two questions but also what this abandoned territory will be used for in the near future.

Friday, 17 October 2014

The life, death and afterlife of Auguste Comte

One of the most lastingly popular posts on this blog* - to my continual surprise - concerns Auguste Comte, the 19th century French philosopher behind the doctrine of positivism. Five years after making that post, I finally got around to visiting his Paris apartment and the secular chapel that was opened in his honour nearly 50 years after his death. Take a look inside both here.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The Oldest Basketball Court in the World

The world’s oldest surviving basketball court can be found in the basement of a building in the city’s 9th arrondissement. But how did Paris come to be one of the earliest homes of a sport invented in America? To find the answer, we need to push open the doors of a YMCA hostel on the Rue Trévise.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Paris plants its first forest

In the last few weeks, Paris has opened access to the first forest ever to be planted within the city itself. Covering a narrow strip less than half a kilometre long, and currently home to mere saplings, will it ever feel like a wild woodland?
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